Eric Lafforgue is a photographer who travels the world. He went to North Korea 6 times between 2008 and 2012. During his journeys, he managed to take pictures of this country and show it as it really was. He also secretly took his photos with him on a USB flash drive. But his sixth visit was the last for Eric because the North Korean government has forbidden Eric to enter the country because he refused to delete from the internet the photos depicting North Korea in a bad light. People who managed to escape from North Korea tell bone-chilling stories about their ordinary life there. But at the same time, lots of North Koreans believe their life is happy. Do they think that because they’ve never seen any other variants? Eric’s photos show the life hidden from everyone in The Land of the Morning Calm. By the way, the photographer was lucky: if the border guards had found the photos, Eric would have faced serious problems (including imprisonment.)
1. Pyongyang Couple, 2008
This picture is quite unusual for North Korea because expressing your feelings in public is treated as something obscene here and in the majority of Asian countries. What is more, this “ordinary” photo belongs to a banned category because it’s prohibited to take photos of soldiers, especially when they are off duty.
2. North Korean Female Soldiers In Tower Of The Juche Idea, Pyongyang, 2012
One more “tabooed” military photo. In 2015, because of the lack of men of military age, the country started recruiting women. At the age of 17, all North Korean girls have to arrive at the recruiting office to start 7 long years of military service. The conditions for both men and women are equally tough: soldiers live in cold barracks and, just like most of the country’s population, suffer from starvation. Women also suffer from a lack of hygiene products.
3. North Korean Pioneers Paying Their Respects To The Dear Leaders, Pyongyang, 2012
Such photos can also fall into the prohibited category for several reasons. First, the slipped pioneer’s tie, and second, children may look exhausted from malnutrition. But the government doesn’t want to admit that most of the population doesn’t get enough food. The daily ration of most people in North Korea consists of 200 g (7 oz) of maize, traditional kimchi cabbage, and water. By the way, contrary to popular belief, rice in North Korea is served mostly during holidays, not as an everyday dish.
4. Hallway Inside The Subway, Pyongyang, 2012
The subway in Pyongyang is a strategic facility, and that’s why you may take photos only if your tour guide allows you. What is more, there are only 3 stations that are open to foreign visitors: tourists are allowed to walk there and even ride a train. But as soon as a train arrives at the terminal (for guests) station, they’re kindly requested to come out. And of course, the hallway isn’t on the list of “photo-friendly” places.
5. Residential District, Kaesong, On The Border With South Korea, 2012
It’s also forbidden to take photos of houses (especially of those ones that aren’t perfect). By the way, you won’t see any curtains, and it isn’t because they are also banned. People just don’t have any extra money to buy them.